Long-term variability and environmental preferences of calycophoran siphonophores in the Bay of Villefranche (North-Western Mediterranean)

Licandro, P, Souissi, S and Ibanez, F 2012 Long-term variability and environmental preferences of calycophoran siphonophores in the Bay of Villefranche (North-Western Mediterranean). Progress in Oceanography, 97-100. 152-163.

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Long-term variability of the main calycophoran siphonophores was investigated between 1974 and 1999 in a coastal station in the north-western Mediterranean. The data were collected at weekly frequency using a macroplankton net (680 μm mesh size) adapted to quantitatively sample delicate gelatinous plankton. A 3-year collection (1967–1969) of siphonophores from offshore waters using the same methodology showed that the patterns of variability observed inshore were representative of siphonophores’ changes at a regional scale. The aims of the study were: (i) to investigate the patterns of variability that characterised the dominant calycophoran species and assemblages; (ii) to identify the environmental optima that were associated with a significant increase in the dominant siphonophore species and (iii) to verify the influence of hydroclimatic variability on long-term changes of siphonophores. Our results showed that during nearly 3 decades the standing stock of calycophoran siphonophores did not show any significant change, with the annual maximum usually recorded in spring as a result of high densities of the dominant species Lensia subtilis, Muggiaea kochi and Muggiaea atlantica. Nevertheless, major changes in community composition occurred within the calycophoran population. Since the middle 1980s, M. kochi, once the most dominant species, started to decrease allowing other species, the congeneric M. atlantica and Chelophyes appendiculata, to increasingly dominate in spring and summer–autumn, respectively. The comparison of environmental and biotic long-term trends suggests that the decrease of M. kochi was triggered by hydrological changes that occurred in the north-western Mediterranean under the forcing of large-scale climate oscillations. Salinity, water stratification and water temperature were the main hydroclimatic factors associated with a significant increase of siphonophores, different species showing different environmental preferences.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science
Depositing User: Miss Gemma Brice
Date made live: 26 Mar 2014 14:09
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:11
URI: https://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/5818

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